Shell to raise dividends again despite 30% fall in annual profits

Shell will raise its shareholder dividends by 4% this year despite a 30% fall in its full-year profits to $28.3bn (£22.37bn) for 2023 as global oil and gas market prices began to ease.

The oil company handed its shareholders $23bn in payouts last year, and plans to pay a further $3.5bn in share buy-backs over the first quarter of 2024 as its dividend payouts continue to grow.

Shell plans to return more cash to shareholders despite a fall in full-year adjusted earnings from almost $40bn in 2022, the biggest in its 115-year history, to $28.3bn last year as global oil and gas prices cooled.

The company’s profits exceeded City expectations after a better-than-expected final quarter in which Shell reported adjusted earnings of $7.3bn compared with forecasts of just over $6bn.

Shell credited its “robust operational performance” and strong trading from its liquified natural gas business for the better than expected results.

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Shell’s chief executive, Wael Sawan, said: “In 2023, Shell returned $23bn to shareholders. In line with our progressive dividend policy, Shell is now increasing its dividend by 4%. We are also commencing a $3.5bn buyback programme for the next three months.”